What are Team USA athletes — Olympians, Paralympians and hopefuls — up to when they're not competing? They're training. They're practicing. They're traveling to competitions and meets and games and tournaments. They're relaxing. They're getting engaged and married and having children. They're taking hard-earned vacations. Or retiring. Or coping with the raw emotions that come from losing and winning. And they're sharing. Through the reach of social media, we're able to follow along on their often extraordinary journeys. We'll catch you up each week on what's "Red, White & Trending."
The Home Stretch
While there aren’t any moms out there who have won 23 tennis Grand Slam titles and four Olympic gold medals, on this much they can relate to Serena Williams …
It's official. I no longer have ankles— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) August 13, 2017
Who Has Next?
Not many offseason pickup games can boast about a visit from an Olympian. Or Olympians. But that’s what happened this past week when the likes of Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant and LeBron James rolled up for some casual hooping within about a month of getting back to work with their respective NBA teams. In four parts, Anthony posted some of the action for his 8.9 million Twitter followers, amassing nearly 15,000 retweets.
"Positive Energy Always Create Elevation"— Carmelo Anthony (@carmeloanthony) August 15, 2017
M7 #AcademyBasketball BLACK OPS Session PT.1 #STAYME7O
PT.2 Coming soon pic.twitter.com/ZvU9zGCl62
PT.2— Carmelo Anthony (@carmeloanthony) August 16, 2017
M7 #AcademyBasketball BLACK OPS Session #STAYME7O pic.twitter.com/pxnaYJTH6P
PT.3— Carmelo Anthony (@carmeloanthony) August 16, 2017
M7 #AcademyBasketball BLACK OPS Session #STAYME7O pic.twitter.com/sPb5sDT5oV
Pt.4— Carmelo Anthony (@carmeloanthony) August 16, 2017
M7 #AcademyBasketball BLACK OPS Session #STAYME7O pic.twitter.com/iuRveKPjjs
How great is this? One of the elements that make up for all the stress of competition and trials of training, the long long days and missed nights of fun with friends is the camaraderie that makes some of those things, along with the opportunity to be considered among the world’s very best, all seem worthwhile. After Kori Carter won the 400-meter hurdles event at the World Championships in London this past week, that camaraderie took on a pretty good life of its own when her teammates hopped on #TheKoriCarter bandwagon. Have a look …
After winning 🥇 at #IAAFWorlds, @TheKoriMonster became quite popular...not only for her performance, but for her intro… #TheKoriCarter pic.twitter.com/kdrT7JiNRd— USATF (@usatf) August 13, 2017
The fact that Kerron Clement does #TheKoriCarter better than me...— Kori Carter (@TheKoriMonster) August 13, 2017
Oh gosh! 🙈🤦🏾♀️ Thanks @usatf and my amazing teammates for this laugh. I'm weak! 😂😂😂 https://t.co/uLWFdAOajV— Kori Carter (@TheKoriMonster) August 13, 2017
Carter edged out Team USA teammate and Rio 400-meter hurdles champion Dalilah Muhammad en route to gold. And the additional internet celebrity.
While we’re on the subject of camaraderie …
Here’s 2012 Olympic 110-meter hurdles champion Aries Merritt, a few weeks removed from racing his signature event, again in London but this time with a new kidney at the World Championships, trading apprenticeships with world champion and Rio Olympic shot put medalist Joe Kovacs.
Quick tale of the tape …
Kovacs: 6-feet, 295 pounds
Merritt: 6-feet-1, 158 pounds
Dave Chappelle, who has an extended engagement at the famous venue, hosted a number of famous guests taking in one of his shows at Radio City Music Hall. Among them: one of the world’s best swimmers, Team USA’s multi-distance Olympic and world champion Katie Ledecky. Ledecky also ran into Saturday Night Live’s Colin Jost and Team USA superfan Leslie Jones, who, we were reminded in the comments by three-time Olympic swimmer Allison Schmitt, was “was right there cheering loud for you in Rio!!!!!!”
Overall, it was a pretty good week in VIP celeb elbow-rubbing for Ledecky …
Three years is a long way away, and golf can be a mercilessly fickle game, but 24-year-old Justin Thomas earned himself a place in the conversation among the very best of a new generation of golfers in this country by winning his first major at the PGA Championship this past Sunday. Team USA was watching, too, including Olympic basketball and hockey stars, as well as golfing buddies ready to congratulate the Kentucky-born Thomas.
Nope that just happened @JustinThomas34 👍— Rickie Fowler (@RickieFowler) August 14, 2017
So proud of @JustinThomas34! Amazing to watch him grow in the game of golf. Congrats on your 1st Major! #PGAChamp— bubba watson (@bubbawatson) August 14, 2017
Congrats to my bro @JustinThomas34 !!!!!!— Andre Iguodala (@andre) August 13, 2017
Great playing @JustinThomas34 more to come I'm sure!— Mike Modano (@9modano) August 14, 2017
Speaking Of Golf …
Now underway: The Solheim Cup in Des Moines, Iowa, where red, white and blue are on full display …
My 2017 Solheim team #memorieswillbemade pic.twitter.com/N19yJ2uWiS— Juli Inkster (@JuliInkster) August 15, 2017
In the previous edition, in 2015, Team USA trailed the European team, 10-6, before the final day of competition, only to win eight of 12 singles matches to win back the Solheim Cup.
Path To Greatness: Through Failure
When you compete with the motivation of becoming singularly excellent, the world’s very best, there are often devastating losses along the way. Even Allyson Felix can’t finish first every time, and the most decorated American woman in Olympic track and field history could not hide her disappointment despite also becoming the World Championships’ most decorated.
Never been hungrier. Tonight I'm thankful for another opportunity to lay it all on the line. To give it everything I have. To fight. pic.twitter.com/N9YmazNQxp— Allyson Felix (@allysonfelix) August 9, 2017
Falling short of your goals always hurts. Pouring your heart into something and failing always causes you to question your ability…— Allyson Felix (@allysonfelix) August 11, 2017
- to doubt yourself. But you have to get back up. You have to keep pursuing your goals.— Allyson Felix (@allysonfelix) August 11, 2017
Her message coming out of London was one of great encouragement for anyone who is willing to endure losses as a part of the process toward succeeding.
Be relentless in the chase of your dreams. Of course you're going to fall at times. Just get back up. pic.twitter.com/m0ivxmvtcI— Allyson Felix (@allysonfelix) August 11, 2017
Be Relentless. #afsweet16 pic.twitter.com/B4K4I39AW4— Allyson Felix (@allysonfelix) August 14, 2017
What to do with 60 hours in Vermont? For Team USA slalom skier Robby Kelley, he took a hike in the Green Mountains. Soon, he’ll be headed for another continent while chasing some snow.
Meanwhile, Olympic alpine skiing star Mikaela Shiffrin is on her way back from New Zealand, but she seemed to have enjoyed her stay …
On the other hand, let’s hope snowboard prodigy and PyeongChang hopeful Chloe Kim’s time in New Zealand goes better than her welcome did.
Also below the equator, but half a world away, still more of Team USA has another stunning ski location for training at a resort not far from Santiago, Chile.
Countdown … To …
Think three-time skeleton Olympian Katie Uhlaender, who finished .04 of a second off the podium in Sochi, has South Korea on her mind?